Depending on the weather conditions where you live, you may be finding that some winter plants that you’re growing, like Wild Rocket or Winter Purslane, are growing very slowly. There are several factors that can come into play, so have a quick look at the list below to see which you think may be the cause (or causes) and hopefully you’ll be able to give your plants a helping hand to get them growing a little faster.
- Not enough sunlight – the sun is low in the sky at this time of year, which means that areas that get plenty of direct sunlight may not be getting very much at all right now.
If you’re growing in pots, try moving them to a spot that gets a little more exposure to the sun. If you’re growing in a greenhouse/polytunnel, make sure it’s well cleaned to let as much light through as possible.
- Too wet – floods aside, if you live in a rainy area (like Cornwall!) then the chances are the soil is somewhat waterlogged. This makes it difficult for the plants to get what they need from their roots.
If growing in pots, try raising pots off the ground to let the water drain out – you can prop the pots on stones, or put them onto more free draining ground, like gravel, or a patio/decking. If growing in beds, is there something you can do by way of digging a small channel to allow excess water to drain off?
- Too cold – most of the winter plants are fairly robust, but they will still struggle when conditions do get very cold.
Try to keep soil a little warmer by adding a mulch – some straw, grass clippings or a leaf mould will be enough to protect the soil from those frosts. You can also cover plants with a cloche or a sheet of horticultural fleece (or just a sheet of clear polythene) to keep the air temperature around them a little warmer.
If growing in pots, try bringing them under cover over night if you can. Or you can try wrapping the pots themselves in fleece or even bubble wrap to keep the soil warm.
- Too windy – a lot of plants suffer from high winds – they get stressed – so trying to provide them with shelter is a good idea.
Move pots to a more sheltered spot, by a fence or wall perhaps. For plants that are growing in beds, a cloche or horticultural fleece will help.